Microsoft was a late entrant to the tablet scene. Its flagship device, Surface, got a lukewarm response globally and did not even get an official release in India. Windows 8, its touch-friendly OS, was Microsoft’s bet to make an impact in the burgeoning tablet market. The OS has slowly started making a mark, with manufacturers coming up with Windows 8 devices. Acer is one of them, and has launched the Iconia W4-820 tablet on this platform.
Once unpacked, the Iconia W4-820 will please with its compact look. The 8-inch tablet has just one physical button, the one with the Windows home screen. The blackish-metallic silver look gives the device a cool avatar. Typing with two hands felt comfortable, but a portable keyboard or a kickstand would help the user to exploit the full potential of the device. The thickness of the device, however, disappointed me. With thinner tablets like the iPad Air and Google Nexus 7 around, Acer could have made the device slimmer.
Windows 8 offers a completely different user experience compared to iOS or Android. I found the initial set up experience to be cumbersome, when compared to the smoothness of an Apple or Android device. The user might also need some time to get used to the way one juggles between apps by swiping left or right, somewhat similar to BlackBerry’s BB10 OS.
The tile interface of Windows 8 is definitely pleasing and Acer has done a good job by pre-loading a lot of useful apps like Skype, Evernote, Kindle, 7digital (offers an excellent collection of downloadable music), tunein (an online app having a good collection of internet radio stations), Amazon, Music Maker Jam along with a host of Acer services like Acer Portal, Acer Docs (similar to Skydrive, where one can save documents on the cloud) and Acer Remote Files. Apart from this, the
device comes preloaded with the usual Microsoft goodies.
But where the Iconia W4-820 scores is how it seamlessly transfers the user from a tablet to a PC-like experience. As soon as one clicks the Desktop icon, the tile interface gives way to a PC desktop, with all the familiar options like documents, downloads, pictures, music, recycle bin etc. And the biggest highlight of a Microsoft OS—the Office suite comes preloaded. This should work wonders for those on the move and are tired of carrying their heavy laptops to work on their Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents.